In Brief: Not a fan of Part 2s and more? Then this one isn’t going to make you all that happy. It’s also, however, a very good horror movie.
A Quiet Place Part II has a unique place in my life.
I was supposed to screen it on March 16, 2020. Instead it became the first screening studios canceled at the onset of COVID. Ironically, the movie is the first official screening I’ve attended since seeing My Spy a week earlier in 2020.
The other distinction? The original, A Quiet Place, was my favorite movie in 2020.
In my book it’s one of the best horror stories ever done. The movie has other great scenes but the baby in the bathtub scene and the nail in the foot are terrifying.
Then there is the absolute quiet.
A whisper in the wind, the tick of a twig on a foot, or a short intake of breath brings instant death. Paralyzing fear follows those who survive. To bring the dilemma of the characters home, the movie’s actors were required to use hand gestures and body language rather than dialogue to communicate.
Done correctly — as co-writer/director John Krasinski did— this is incredible moviemaking. It’s also acting at its finest.
Krasinski starts A Quiet Place Part II with a short explanation of how the monsters landed on Earth and then starts the main story where the first film ends. Emily Blunt’s Evelyn Abbott packs up the baby and her mostly deaf daughter and son and heads for the proverbial hills.
It’s there they run into an old family friend.
Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, the Scarecrow in The Dark Knight) plays Emmett. He’s lost his whole family and is a troubled, negative human being hiding in an old factor along a railroad track. Emmett doesn’t want Evelyn and the kids to stay and rudely orders them to leave the next day.
That night they hear music on a radio. It’s Bobby Darin’s 1959 hit, Beyond the Sea and it’s playing over and over. Daughter Regan thinks it’s a signal from people on the coast. She believes they are safe and is determined to find them.
Regan leaves in the middle of the night to find what she believes is safety. Emmett is guilt-tripped into going after the girl. The movie’s plot evolves from there as the two battle the creatures and other, more human, monsters.
Hand it to Krasinski. He wrote this one solo and his movie is equally as intense as the original. Krasinski rivets you to your seat with some incredible shooting and editing. Like the first movie, in places it’s hard to breathe.
At times he has four different stories are happening at once. For example, he’ll focus on Evelyn walking and suddenly — and seamlessly — you see Millicent Simmonds’ Regan doing the same thing and then it’s Murphy, and then it’s Evelyn’s son, Marcus and then he goes back to one of them again and then to another and another.
His weaving of different scenes in and out of each other is extraordinary movie-making. It’s blow your mind wow. The wow is highlighted with very good, and mostly silent, acting from Blunt, Simmonds, Murphy and Noah Jupe who plays Marcus.
Krasinski has us eating out of the palm of his hand and then just when the tension has ramped up and the vicious human-eating creatures are on the run, wham bang, roll credits.
Huh? What? Wait! Really? Are you kidding? You’re forcing a part three?
It’s a letdown equal to what producers did with the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Harry Potter. Just when the going gets good and you’re locked into, and almost absorbed by the movie, Krasinski slams on the brakes.
Maybe he should have left well enough alone. The first film left you with hope. It also made you come to your own conclusion as to how what’s left of the Abbott family and the rest of humanity will survive. A lot of us like to come to our own conclusions. My favorite example is the Matrix ending. Keanu Reeves puts on his Foster Grants and walks into eternity leaving you to think he makes a humanity saving difference. You don’t really know but you use your imagination to decide.
I love it.
That love doesn’t extend to A Quiet Place Part II. I love what is there. Krasinski’s movie is incredible. Truly. The guy is a gifted storyteller. However, it’s like he couldn’t decide how to end things, and with no idea what to do, Krasinski gave us a cliffhanger so he could regroup and find a good climax.
Or maybe he had too much material and needed a third movie to finish things off. In that case, most of us would prefer a three-hour movie. That’s especially true if the movie — like this one — is very, very good.
That’s all conjecture. Whatever Krasinski’s reason, what he did is going to tick a lot of people off.
And it won’t be quietly.
Director: John Krasinski
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, Okieriete Onaodowan, Scott McNairy
Rated PG-13 for horror, extreme violence, bloody images and mature themes. The ending in this one is going to create a lot of noise. In Krasinski’s creature-filled, horror movie world, that’s a bad thing. It’s not going to be such a good thing in this world either.
A Quiet Place Part II can be seen in theaters in the Portland/Vancouver area.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.